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A China Odyssey


A China Odyssey is a guest post by Jennifer DeCristoforo, the author of Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts.  

I’m so pleased to be invited to do a guest post for Globe Trottin’ Kids. For many years I have devoted a big part of my life helping to grow world citizens, so I’m incredibly inspired by all the wonderful content that Julie shares on this site and blog.

My fascination with world cultures has taken many directions, including teaching elementary art in the public schools, world travels, and authoring and publishing a book on Chinese crafts and culture. My most important ‘world citizen’ feat to date, is becoming mom to my daughter, born in Jiangzi Province, China in 2002.

mom and daughter

Understandably, I spend a lot of time pondering all things Chinese, even though my day-to-day life is spent in a coastal town in Maine, where I live with my (now teenaged) daughter and work as a project manager for a higher education tech company. Actually, my rather rural, conspicuously non-diverse environment allows me a huge opportunity to share what I know and what I love; getting crafty as a vehicle to teach the rich traditions, art techniques and celebrations of China to even the most culturally unexposed kids.

When I became a mom, of course my world went topsy-turvy… this was my first (and last) child and I was already in my forties. If “new mom” stuff wasn’t enough, her Dad and I were traveling across the globe to bring her home, knowing virtually nothing of her history, and were literally “immigrating” a human being in the process! (And I’ll save the 2003 SARS quarantine stories for another time!)

Never before had I felt more vividly how we are all connected and in the blink of an eye, our worlds can be one. And so our life as a multicultural, multiracial family began. Our “early years’ were spent more with adoption issues; both psychological and developmental, trying to give my girl her best start in life. But even then, I was always conscious of being very transparent about her birth history and her homeland. She was going to grow up Chinese, whether or not she was in China.

Well, fast forward to today (and it really does go fast!). Over the years I had accumulated a large collection of projects, crafts, simple Mandarin lessons, and was brimming with ideas for a craft and culture book that could be a reference to anyone that wanted to learn or teach about China. I tell people it’s the book I wish I had when my own daughter was young.

Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts

Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts; Over 100 Projects & Ideas Celebrating Chinese Culture is a collection of hands-on project instructions, as well as a resource on Chinese culture and how craft tradition and artistry is a part of that history. I set out to make the book fun, interesting, and with enough simple ideas so even young children could make and learn. I think there is really something for everyone!

lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts

After years of hard work, the book was finally published and since then it has been such a gratifying tool to meet new people, share my daughter’s culture, and participate in all kinds of events for Chinese holidays, educational conferences, and even schools, libraries and camps.

lucky bamboo

lucky bambooWe love Chinese New Year, a popular holiday worldwide, not just in China. I use it as a launching pad for fresh craft ideas and fun lessons every lunar year. It’s a great starting point if as a parent or educator this is your first foray into Chinese culture. Learning about world cultures is an important part of everyone’s education and such a great way to feel connected. Whether it’s sharing the customs, the food, the stories and legends, the holidays, the language, the dance and music, or simply getting out a few supplies and making a craft, anyone can get on board and expand their world.

Please visit my website and blog if you would like to learn more about my book, craft projects and experiences teaching about Chinese culture.

Dragon Boat

Globe Trottin’ Kids had a blast making this craft in preparation for the Dragon Boat Festival at the end of May.


  1. Barbara Hopper on May 2, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    What a great story and a very lucky girl. Crafts sound easy to make.

    • Julie Yeros on May 7, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks for your comment! The directions for the crafts are very detailed and easy to follow.

  2. Lucia Brown on May 5, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I’m inspired to make some Chinese crafts after seeing the wonderful new Disney film, “Born in China.”

    • Julie Yeros on May 7, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      What a wonderful connection! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Julie Ap on May 5, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    We’re just back from a short stop in China. Crafts are such a great follow-up for kids to process their experiences; this is great!

    • Julie Yeros on May 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Great timing!
      I agree. Hands-on experiences, like crafts, are a wonderful way to follow up a trip, a lesson, unit study, etc. Thanks for you comment!

  4. Rebekah Gienapp on May 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I love crafts and I love learning about other cultures with my child, so this book sounds perfect.

    • Julie Yeros on May 7, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      We are having lots of fun making projects from the book, including waterproof dragon boats for the Dragon Boat Festival at the end of the month. Thank you for your comment!

  5. Leanna @ Alldonemonkey on May 6, 2017 at 6:36 am

    I love learning more about the folktales and literary traditions. Great giveaway!

    • Julie Yeros on May 7, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you Leanna!
      I agree – more folktales!

  6. Kathleen Burkinshaw on May 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Such a wonderful story. Love the craft ideas and learning more about the Chinese culture!

    • Julie Yeros on May 7, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Kathleen. There is so much to learn from this book!

  7. Petula on May 7, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I’ve always been interested to learn about the everyday culture.

    • Julie Yeros on May 7, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Wonderful! I also enjoy learning about the everyday activities in different cultures. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on this topic.
      Thank you for your comment.

  8. Eliza Dorsey on May 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Having looked at this book firsthand, I will say that it is a wonderfully organized, easy to understand book that guides you through the steps, using mostly easily obtainable items, to create very interesting and fun projects!! Great book!!

    • Julie Yeros on May 10, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! We’ve started several more projects – with varying ages and abilities. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Amanda on May 12, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Love the story behind such a wonderful maker’s book for art, crafts and culture.

    • Julie Yeros on May 12, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Indeed! Such a heartfelt passion project and wonderful adventure for them to share together. Thank you for your comment.

  10. home family recipes on May 26, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    What’s up, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this article. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

  11. homeschooling on May 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, great site!

    • Julie Yeros on May 31, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks for your kind words. We hope you continue to explore and enjoy learning about our diverse world!

  12. Global Maker Kids | Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts on November 15, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    […] was also lucky enough to write a guest post for Globe Trottin’ Kids which tells a bit about my journey (if you’re new here) but also collabs with a wonderful […]

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